Few will argue with the notion that the Kia Sportage is flying high for Kia and pretty much everything that they do these days strikes the right note. Their latest big seven-seat SUV, the Sorento is another case in point.
With cars in this bracket it can be difficult to get the correct balance between a decent workhorse and the qualities now expected from family buyers. The trade-off between the two is a delicate challenge and here Kia seems to have got that balance spot on.
In its previous mould it may have been a bit frumpy and difficult to drive at times but, with the new one they have managed to reduce the body roll that can be a issue with these big vehicles and give us a car that easier to operate and more suitable for the daily duties of a busy family. You also get the huge space that people in this market are after and there are seven full-sized on offer.
I have been driving the latest model and it is smoother than the old model, looks more substantial and still, it performs more like a big sedan rather than a big brute. It is also a more refined design giving it a premium look and feel. That is the hard part when it comes to design but they have got that part nailed too.
Overall the new Sorento has increased in size but is lower in height with increased length (+95 mm to 4,780 mm), reduced height (down 15 mm to 1,685 mm) and extra width (+5 mm to 1,890 mm). There are two AWD variants of the new car – the EX at €38,995 and the expected volume model, the Platinum at €43,995.
The entry level model is a five seater with a generous level of spec that includes 17” alloys, rear privacy glass ,super vision instrument cluster and 7” Sat Nav with reversing camera .
My test car was the Platinum version and as the name is a seven-seater with a luxury spec that included a panoramic sunroof, Xenon lights, leather and heated front and second row rear seats, heated steering wheel, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat .
Power continues to come from the Kia 2.2 197 hp, Euro 6 diesel unit which sees a drop in C02 from 155 to 149 for the MT still remaining in Band C costing €390 per year for road tax purposes. It has the clout that you need to carry its bulk and I achieved 7.8L/100km over an extended test.
Inside the new Sorento is where some of the most significant improvements are to be found. It has a clear instrument panel and the wrap-around shape of the dashboard makes it a functional and pleasant place for the driver and the passengers.
Kia are now using more soft-touch materials, top-class seats and leather touches which give the car a plush feel and a car-like ambience. Coupled with this the longer wheelbase give the occupants additional space in the cabin, something that buyers will welcome.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.